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Interview: Tips & Advice

2018

"Nail the CV and cover letter and know them back to front for the interview as the partners will want you to demonstrate a thorough understanding of your experience and commercial acumen."
First year trainee, London
"I thought the whole process was very straightforward and fair, it felt like they wanted me to do well. In terms of preparation, keep up with the news, research the firm's recent work and clients and be prepared to talk through your CV."
Second year trainee, London
"There's a written exercise on a commercial piece/business plan that tests your ability to assimilate lots of information quickly and logically set out your thoughts and ideas. The interview is in two parts; this first is a discussion of your CV and the second is a discussion of a commercial article. Be analytical. If a partner suggests a point you hadn't thought of, don't just say 'that's a good point' and move on. Think about it, build on it and engage more deeply."
First year trainee, London
"It's a simpler process than at most firms as there's just a CV and a covering letter followed by an interview. There's a written task at the interview that isn't heavily legal, it seems to be trying to test whether you can think commercially and justify your decisions. Brush up on current affairs beforehand and try to relax on the day, treat it as much as a chance to find out whether the firm would suit you as the other way around."
Second year trainee, London
"I can assure you that partners read your CV and covering letter very carefully before they interview you. Make sure your covering letter makes you sound like someone they actually want to talk to and engage with."
Second year trainee, London
"I attended a winter workshop, which was a great way to get to know the firm before a training contract interview."
First year trainee, London
"I think it is important to have thoroughly considered why you have applied to this firm. The interviewers will drill into your reasoning for picking this training contract and will want to make sure that you are making an informed decision. My interview was more academic than commercial. We discussed my dissertation and my interests rather than what was going on in the Financial Times. I felt as though they wanted to get to know me and understand how I think. There will be a discussion about an article that you will be given to read beforehand. The interviewer will always play devil's advocate, regardless of what you argue. Be prepared to argue back but don't stick to your point if your position is indefensible."
First year trainee, London
"There is a written exercise and then the interview is the main part. Be very well informed about the firm and be prepared for them to robustly challenge your viewpoint. The firm is genuinely interested in the non-academic things you do."
First year trainee, London

2016

"The process is sending a CV and cover letter, followed by an interview. Aside from knowing what you are going to say in response to the standard interview questions, I would recommend being familiar with what sets the firm apart and why you want to be a part of this firm in particular."
First year trainee, London
"It's a very easy application process, consisting only of a CV with a (short) cover letter. There's no endless application form to fill in, which is very refreshing."
Second year trainee, London
"The application is a short cover letter. The interview day begins with a short written assessment, followed by an interview with two partners. You will be given a news article that will be discussed for part of the interview. Then there will be a tour of the office with a current trainee and a brief chat with HR. Be prepared to talk about the firm and why you are interested, as well as your achievements and why you would be a good trainee. Trainees at the firm have a huge variety of talents and interests so don't be afraid to share what you are passionate about and why. Keep up to date with both finance and general hot topics in the news and be prepared to back up your arguments when challenged."
First year trainee, London
"Know why you want to work for the firm and why you want to be a lawyer. Consider what drove you to corporate law and why you are interested in working as a solicitor and not as a barrister. You have to read an article for the interview, which you will be questioned on. These are pulled from recent news articles, so reading the Financial Times and other papers in the weeks leading up to the interview is a good idea. It will also help you improve on your business awareness, which is a crucial skill to show."
First year trainee, London
"The application consisted of CV and cover letter, then a couple of written tests and a partner interview. I would advise candidates get familiar with business news. You don't need to know a lot about what is going on, but if you are familiar with the style of business articles, it makes it much less intimidating when you are presented with an article to discuss during your interview. I would also suggest spending a fair amount of time on the firm's website reading up on recent work. Reading the client publications was a very helpful way to get to know the firm and the key topical issues."
First year trainee, London
"Know your CV back to front and think of any obvious questions you might be asked about it. For example – if your grades were lower one year, what caused that?"
First year trainee, London
"CV and cover letter only. Intelligence and potential is highly valued. Don't be arrogant. Know your stuff."
First year trainee, London
"Think very carefully about how the qualities that the firm purports to epitomise apply to you and your skill set."
First year trainee, london
"Prepare yourself to have an opinion and stick to it, as there is an element of debate to some of the interviews. Also, be honest about your flaws and do not rely on cliched responses."
First year trainee, London

2015

"The only things that are necessary are to apply are your CV and cover letter - Slaughter and May's application is well known as the easiest application to send in. Having a general knowledge of business current affairs is very helpful for the interview. Regularly reading BBC Business News and (if possible) the FT is strongly encouraged."
First year trainee, London
"The application process is very straightforward - simply consisting of sending in a CV and cover letter. The best way to prepare for the interview is to keep abreast of the news."
First year trainee, London
"My advice is to make the most of your time at university; i.e. do interesting things to give yourself something to talk about in the interview. The interviewers are more likely to give a job to someone with whom they can have an engaging conversation."
Second year trainee, London
"Once your CV and covering letter has been submitted, you will be invited to an interview and will also have a written task to complete at interview. Prepare for the interview with mock interviews, reading about what the firm does, its recent work and talking to people who work there/HR."
First year trainee, London
"Having a very good understanding of why you have applied is essential. Apart from that, it is very difficult to prepare, as interviews are radically variable."
First year trainee, London
"There was a written exercise and interview. Try to have an opinion on things that are happening the media - don't just know what they are. Be yourself; they really are interested in you as an individual."
First year trainee, London

2014

"Keep it simple. Stand up for your view point view if you think you are right, but don't keep digging a hole if you know you are wrong."
Second year trainee, London
"The interview is focused on your CV, so it is well worth ensuring that you are totally on top of any claims made in it and that you can go into more detail on positions of responsibility/academic results, etc. The nature of the two-partner interview inevitably means that you will be challenged on assertions that you make, (and it can feel like a 'good-cop, bad-cop' setting), so it is important to stay calm and remember that the interviewers are trying to get you to defend what you've said in response to questioning."
First year trainee, London
"Be yourself. If you don't know the answer to a question, don't pretend that you do. The firm is all about integrity, and your interviewers will see right through you if they see you searching for an answer which is ultimately a complete guess."
First year trainee, London
"My advice is to keep up-to-date with the news, research the firm and think carefully about whether this really is the right career for you."
First year trainee, London
"Your cover letter should be short and to the point. Your CV should aim to prompt questions, not dump every detail of your life on the reader. For the interview, make sure you have some clear responses in your head to the obvious questions."
Second year trainee, London
"Read the FT and Economist and follow a few firms over the weeks before the interview. Practise all standard interview questions. Stay calm."
First year trainee, London
"Prepare as you would for any other interview. Ensure you know as much as possible about the firm, the work it does and its clients. Make sure you are clear about what distinguishes Slaughter and May from other firms. Importantly, be yourself. Don't lie and don't try to 'blag it'. If you don't know the answer to a particular question, say so, or ask the interviewer to rephrase it."
First year trainee, London

2013

"I think the firm likes people with excellent academic credentials, people who have a life outside of the law library and people who take a keen interest in all current affairs (not just the business world)."
Second year trainee, London
"Firm looks for candidates with the best grades, and who can engage in an intelligent conversation."
Second year trainee, London
"Academics seem to be the main focus. Tips and advice - know a bit about the firm and what differentiates it from other Magic Circle/City firms. Don't try to talk about something you know nothing about - you will be given an article to discuss and it won't be expected that you necessarily have any prior knowledge on the subject so don't pretend to if you don't! Know a bit about recent transactions and show at least a willingness to learn about the City."
Second year trainee, London
"Bright and interesting people. Best advice is to keep up-to-date on current affairs and not try and drone on in interview about how you read the FT every day..."
Second year trainee, London
"Hold your ground in the interview and be yourself. Don't try to embellish things. I've noticed people tend to be logical and persistent as well as have a good sense of humour here."
First year trainee, London
"Clever people with lots of extra-curricular activities."
Second year trainee, London
"Be prepared to discuss your CV and why you want to do law. Ask some intelligent questions at the end."
First year trainee, London
"Candidates with strong academic backgrounds with an interest in the law. Work out potentially obvious topics arising from your CV and covering letter, which form the basis of at least half of the interview. Read up on the firm and its recent deals."
Newly qualified solicitor, London
"The firm looks for interesting people who have a life outside the office. You have to be intelligent and willing to work hard."
Second year trainee, London
"Bright articulate people who are up for a challenge. Prepare thoroughly, practise interviewing before you get here and be yourself. Be up-to-date with current affairs and get some experience of being interviewed."
First year trainee, London
"No one type that the partners look for. Also a variety of partners interviewing, so necessarily some subjectivity in the interview process. Difficult to prepare as it more takes the form of an informal discussion than ticking particular boxes. Don't fall down on the basic questions like "Why do you want to be a corporate lawyer?"."
Second year trainee, London
Our 'Inside Buzz' reviews are the comments and views of recent graduate recruits, giving you a view of what it may be like to work for an organisation. Copyright of all TARGETjobs Inside Buzz material lies solely with GTI Media.
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